Hardy Quoted

Hardy Quoted

"The function of a mathematician is to do something, to prove new theorems, to add to mathematics, and not to talk about what he or other mathematicians have done."

"If a man is in any sense a real mathematician, then it is a hundred to one that his mathematics will be better than anything else he can do, and that he would be silly if he surrendered any decent opportunity of exercising his one talent in order to do undistinguished work in other fields."

"No mathematician should ever allow himself to forget that mathematics, more than any other art or science, is a young man's game....Galois died at twenty-one, Abel at twenty-seven, Ramanujan at thirty-three, Riemann at forty. There have been men who have done great work a good deal later; Gauss's great memoir on differential geometry was published when he was fifty (though he had had the fundamental ideas ten years before). I do not know an instance of a major mathematical advance initiated by a man past fifty....It is very hard to find an instance of a first-rate mathematician who has abandoned mathematics and attained first-rate distinction in any other field."

" 'Immortality' may be a silly word, but probably a mathematician has the best chance of whatever it may mean."

"A MATHEMATICIAN, like a painter or a poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas. ... The mathematician's patterns, like the painter's or the poet's, must be beautiful; the ideas, like the colours or the words, must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics." "The best mathematics is serious as well as beautiful--'important' if you like, but the word is very ambiguous, and 'serious' expresses what I mean much better."

"It is undeniable that a good deal of elementary mathematics-- and I use the word 'elementary' in the sense in which professional mathematicians use it, in which it includes, for example, a fair working knowledge of the differential and integral calculus) has considerable practical utility. These parts of mathematics are, on the whole, rather dull; they are the parts which have the least aesthetic value. The 'real' mathematics of the 'real' mathematicians, the mathematics of Fermat and Euler and Gauss and Abel and Riemann, is almost wholly 'useless'(and this is as true of 'applied' as of 'pure' mathematics. It is not possible to justify the life of any genuine professional mathematician on the ground of the 'utility' of his work."

G.H. Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology